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Publication numberUS3278227 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date11 Oct 1966
Filing date19 Feb 1965
Priority date28 Nov 1962
Also published asCA750742A
Publication numberUS 3278227 A, US 3278227A, US-A-3278227, US3278227 A, US3278227A
InventorsDavid L Rowland
Original AssigneeDavid L Rowland
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Compactly stackable chairs and chair-rows
US 3278227 A
Images(12)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 11, 1966 D. L RQWLAND 3,278,227

COMPAC'ILY S'I'ACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS Filed Feb. 19, 1965 lZSheQtS-Sheet 1 %!0 L. ROWLAND INVENTOR.

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Y MW um M D. L- ROWLAND COMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS Oct. 11, 1966 12 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Feb. 19, 1965 DAVID L. ROWLAND 1N VEN TOR.

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Oct. 11, 1966 D. L. ROWLAND 3,278,227

COMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS Filed Feb. 19, 1965 12 Sheets-Sheet 7 I9315 FIG. 32

DAVID L, ROWLAND I N VEN TOR.

BY MM Oct. 11, 1966 D. L. ROWLAND 3,278,227

GOMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-Rows Filed Feb. 19, 1965 12 Sheets-Sheet 8 DAVID L. RQWLAND I N VEN TOR.

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INVENTOR.

Oct. 11, 1966 D. L. ROWLAND COMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS Filed Feb. 19, 1965 12 Sheets-Sheet 9 DAVlD L. ROWLAND Oct. 11, 1966 D. L. ROWLAND COMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS l2 Sheets-Sheet 10 Filed Feb. 19, 1965 DAVHD L. ROWLAND INVENTOR.

Oct. 11, 1966 D. L ROWLAND 3,273,227

GOMPACTLY STAGKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-ROWS Filed Feb. 19, 1965 12 Sheets-Sheet -11 DAVID L. ROWLAND INVENTOR.

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COMPAGTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAIR-Rows Filed Feb. 19, 1965 12 Sheets-Sheet l2 INVENTOI? all V/D L- ROWLAND B '{LJM ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,278,227 CQMPACTLY STACKABLE CHAIRS AND CHAlR-RUWS David L. Rowland, 49 W. 55th St., New York, N.Y. Filed Feb. 19, 1965, Ser. No. 441,947 20 Claims. (Cl. 297239) This application is a continuation-in-part of application Serial No. 240,496, filed November 28, 1962, now abandoned.

This invention relates to a compactly stackable chair. More particularly, the invention relates to non-folding, sturdy, and lightweight chairs which are adapted to be joined together in rows, and the rows are st-ackable upon one another in a compact manner.

The use of large numbers of removable chairs for audience seating at a great variety of public gatherings has presented problems which heretofore have not been solved satisfactorily. One problem is how to provide a chair that can be stored in a minimum amount of space and is also quickly and simply set in position for use. Since they s-tore fairly compactly, numerous types of folding chairs have been used, with varying degrees of success. But the folding chair has two inherent drawbacks; one, the excessive time it takes to unfold it and later to refold it; and two, the movable joints, which wear, become loose, and ultimately break or deform, bind, and become inoperable. One object of my invention is to provide non-folding chairs which are even more compactly storable than folding chairs and do not possess the drawback of folding chairs.

Another problem arose in providing removable sea-ting of sufficient strength and durability. Since the chair must be capable of accommodating a wide range of weights and sizes with a large margin of safety, it became conventional to construct the chair of relatively heavy and cumbersome material. But ease in handling is important in its effect on the effort and time of setting up and taking down the chairs. Therefore, another object of my invention is to provide a strong, exceptionally durable chair which is also remarkably easy to handle.

While non-folding chairs have been used for seating large audiences, and while some chairs of this type have been designed to stack or nest upon one another, a severe problem encountered with them was that they required an excessively large space for storage; usually the frame was too large and otherwise was designed so that, although the chairs were stackable, only a few could be stacked successfully in one pile without falling over. Often there was a three or four inch vertical interval between chairs so that a stack of less than ten chairs was more than four feet high. Another and very important object of my invention is to provide chairs which can be easily and safely placed into an extremely compact and stable stack.

Another problem with the use of large numbers of extra chairs is how to fasten them one to another in a long row so that many chairs may be manipulated simultaneously. Heretofore, the means for fastening chairs together has been cumbersome and heavy. In some instances, a row of chairs was made by permanently attaching them to long boards. This attaching operation required much labor and the use of screws and screw drivers or nuts, bolts, and wrenches. Other means, involving elaborate connecting devices, have encountered problems either through difficulty in operation or weakness in structure. Consequently, a further object of my invention is the provision of a chair having a simple, lightweight, and strong coupling device so that a number of these chairs may be securely fastened together into a row without the necessity of extra parts and tools.

Discomfort is another problem that has long confronted the designers of removable, storable chairs. Because they were designed primarily to fold or to achieve compactness in. storage, chairs of this type have been quite uncomfortable, especially when used continuously for even moderate periods of time. It is an object of this invention to provide a comfortable uncushioned chair.

When chairs are used in outdoor threatres and stadia, they are subject to the damaging effects of rain and other liquids falling therein. In this invention the chair sheds liquids readily and completely, thereby reducing the potential damage from this source of trouble.

These and other objects of the invention are accomplished by providing a stacking chair which is compact, simple in construction, light in weight, strong, durable, and easily and firmly attachable to another identical chair. The frame of my new chair is of minimal bulk, and when these chairs are stacked, corresponding frame members are immediately adjacent each other, rather than being separated by useless empty space. The present invention makes it possible to stack forty chairs into an approximately four-foot-high space formerly required for fewer than ten chairs of previous designs. In large-r quantities the net occupation of space is 1.75 chairs per cubic foot (i.e., 350 chairs will go into 200 cubic feet). Moreover, the chair of this invention is of simple construction; so simple that no skill in handling chairs is necessary to manever it. My new chair is so compact and easy to handle that large quantities can be carried on dolly carts with a minimum of effort. It is possible for two men to stack or unstack and put in place approximately one hundred of my chairs a minute.

The present invention overcomes the attaching problems by providing a simple fastening means which is quick and easy to operate and which efiiciently connects my chairs to one another in any number desired. A connected row of my chairs may be pushed and slid along the floor in any direction and also may be lifted and transported without danger of coming apart. No additional parts, such as long boards, screws, nuts, or bolts are required and no screw drivers, wrenches or other tools are needed to fasten my chairs together.

As a result of a thorough study of seating comfort, I provide a maximum of comfort for both sloughing loungers and upright sitters. It is appropriately suited to auditoriums and theatres and other places where people must sit for hours at a time. While the seat is shaped for comfort, it also has been scultpured to allow water to drain, so that no puddles form when it rains, a feature making my chair especially useful in outdoor areas.

These and other highly desirable features provided by the present invention are more fully described by the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a chair embodying the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the chair showing the individual parts thereof.

FIG. 3 is a view in side elevation of the chair of this invention.

FIG. 4 is a view in front elevation of the chair.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the whole chair.

FIG. 6 is a view in perspective of two chairs like that of FIG. 1, showing one being stacked upon the other.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary top plan view on an enlarged scale and partially in section of a side portion of the two chairs in their FIG. 6 position.

FIG. 8 is a view in perspective of a completed stack of three chairs like that of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary enlarged view in cross section taken along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary view in perspective of a portion of the lower left front corner of the chair of FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary view in perspective of a portion of the lower right front corner of the chair of FIG. 1.

FIG. 12 isa fragmentary enlarged view in elevation and partly in section of the lower front corners of two chairs about to be joined together.

FIG. 13 is a similar view showing the chairs joined.

FIG. 14 is a view in perspective, looking from the rear, of two chairs like that of FIG. 1 fastened together sideby-side.

FIG. 15 is a view in perspective of two rows of chairs, each made by joining chairs like that of FIG. 1 together side-by-side, with one row of chairs being stacked upon another row of chairs.

FIG. 16 is a fragmentary enlarged view in perspective of the rear legs of two adjacent chairs about to be joined together.

FIG. 17 is a view in section taken along the line 17-17 in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a front fragmentary view, similar to FIG. 16, showing the elements after being joined.

FIG. 19 is a rear fragmentary view showing the elements after being joined.

FIG. 20 is a view in section taken along the line 2020 in FIG. 19.

FIG. 21 is a top plan view of two adjacent chairs of the type shown in FIGS. 1-20 being joined together.

FIG. 22 is a fragmentary plan view, partly in section, showing the juncture points of the chairs of FIG. 21 in the same position.

FIG. 23 is a view similar to FIG. 21 at the moment when their joining together has been completed.

FIG. 24 is a view similar to FIG. 22 showing the positions of the same parts as they are in FIG. 23.

FIG. 25 is a fragmentary view in side elevation of the forward fastener-glide member on the right hand side of the chair on the left hand side of FIG. 21.

FIG. 26 is a similar view of the corresponding mem her on the left hand side of the chair on the right hand side of FIG. 21.

FIG. 27 is a view in side elevation of an approximately four-foot high stack of 40 chairs.

FIG. 28 is a view similar to FIG. 9 of a modified form of structure.

FIG. 29 is a view generally similar to FIG. 7 but showing the modified structure of FIG. 28 and showing portions of four chairs, an upper pair being stacked on a lower pair.

FIG. 30 is an enlarged fragmentary view in section, taken along the line 3030 in FIG. 3, and showing also, in broken lines, a portion of a second chair in order to show the stacking relationship.

FIG. 31 is a view like the solid-line portion of FIG. 30, showing the elements during assembly.

FIG. 32 is an enlarged fragmentary view in section of portions of the side rails and seats of four chairs stacked on each other, each chair having a different seat structure in order to illustrate some of the possibilities.

FIG. 33 is a view in perspective similar to FIG. 1 of a modified form of chair also embodying the principles of the invention.

FIG. 34 is an exploded view in perspective of the chair of FIG. 33.

FIG. 35 is a view in side elevation of the chair of FIG. 33.

FIG. 36 is a fragmentary view in section taken along the line 3636 in FIG. 35.

FIG. 37 is a fragmentary view in perspective similar to FIG. 16 of a modified form of leg fastener.

FIG. 38 is a view similar to FIG. 37 showing the two elements as they are being joined together.

FIG. 39 is a view similar to FIG. 38 showing the completed juncture.

FIG. 40 is a top plan view similar to FIG. 21 showing two chairs of a modified form, also embodying the invention, being joined together.

FIG. 41 is a fragmentary and broken view of the juncture elements of the chairs of FIG. 40.

FIG. 42 is a top plan view showing the chairs of FIG. 40 joined together.

FIG. 43 is a fragmentary and broken view like FIG. 41 but with the elements joined together as in FIG. 42.

FIGS. 44 and 45 are views in side elevation of the two mating front juncture elements.

FIG. 46 is a view in side elevation of three chairs of the type of FIG. 1 stacked on each other, illustrating the dimensions and the spacing by the glides.

FIG. 47 is a view in perspective of another modified form of chair embodying the principles of the invention.

FIG. 48 is an exploded view of the chair of FIG. 47.

FIG. 49 is a rear perspective view of the chair of FIG. 47.

FIG. 50 is an enlarged fragmentary view in section of the connectors on the rear legs of the chair of FIG. 47.

FIG. 51 is a view in section of a connection portion where two chairs of FIG. 47 are joined together.

A single chair 50 considered generally (FIGS. 15)

A single chair 50 embodying the principles of the invention is shown in FIGS. 1 to 5. The chair 50 is not a folding chair-all its parts are rigidly secured together and are immovable relative to each otherbut it is readily stackable in a small space. Broadly speaking, the main elements of the chair 50 are a frame 51, a seat 52, and a back 53; the seat 52 and back 53 being separately and rigidly secured to the frame 51.

Even before considering the chair 50 in detail, certain outstanding features can be noted: 1) The height H (FIG. 3) of the seat 52 above the floor is many times the thickness T of the frame 51, preferably 30 to 1 or greater. (2) The thickness t of the seat 52 and t of the back 53 are each less than the thickness T of the frame 51 (see FIG. 3), so that when several chairs 50 are stacked, the frames 51 rest one upon the other through the glides 85, 86, 87, 88, and the seats 52 and backs 53 do not touch. In other words, the chairs 50 do not rest on their seats 52 or backs 53 when they are stacked. (3) The space below the seat 52 is entirely open; there is no brace or other obstructing member in this space that would prevent nesting. (4) Below the seat 52 the frame 51 slopes out toward the front and toward the back. Many other important features will become apparent from more detailed consideration; first, of the single chair 50, then of chairs 50 stacked individually, then of chairs joined in rows, and finally of chairs stacked in rows.

The frame 51 may conveniently be made of cylindrical steel rod, and may be quite slender. For example, steel rod has been successfully used to produce a strong, lightweight, stackable chair. The cross section may be oval, square, rectangular, angular, or other suitable shape, instead of the cylindrical form illustrated. Moreover, although metal is preferred as the frame material, wood, reinforced plastics, glass fiber rods, and other materials of suflicient strength per cross-sectional thickness and of sufiicient durability may be used for some applications.

Preferably, the frame 51 comprises four principal components welded or otherwise rigidly secured together; two side-frame members 54 and 55, a seat-frame member 56, and a front cross brace 57.

The side-frame members 54 and 55 are identical, and have respective horizontal floor-engaging bottom rails and 61, and an upwardly extending, forwardly sloping rear leg 62, 63. The rear legs 62, 63 extend up above the seat 52 and terminate in back-supporting portions 64, 65 which may be bent to extend backwardly, if desired. When making the rear legs 62, 63 from slender stock, as preferred, they are preferably strengthened by welding or otherwise firmly securing to them stilfening members 66, 67 to prevent their collapse upon application of severe sidewise stresses. As shown in the drawings, the members 66 and 67 extend both above and below the juncture of the rear legs 62, 63 and the seat frame.

56. As will be seen later, these stiffening members 66, 67 perform an important additional novel function when the chairs 56 are to be joined side-by-side into rows.

The seat-frame member 56 comprises a parallel pair of upper, inclined, seat-supporting side rails 70 and 71 which are bent out from a back rail 72 and a parallel pair of front legs 74 and 75 that slope forwardly toward their lower ends 76 and 77. The side rails 70 and 71 are closer together than the bottom rails 60* and 61 by an amount at least twice the thickness of the bottom rails 60, 61; so that the bottom rails 6t), 61 of an upper chair 50 are not stopped by the side rails 70, 71 of a lower chair 50, during stacking as shown in FIG. 6. For this reason, the side rails 70 and 71 are connected to the back legs 64, 65 by a spacing member, such as a metal weld 78 (see FIG. 9) and are connected to the members 60 and 61 by a weld 79 (see FIG. 4).

When the frame 51 is made in the four components 54, 55, 56, and 57, it may be assembled by welding the front cross brace 57 to the front legs 74, 75 at about their mid-points and parallel to the floor, by welding the extremities of the back rail 72 to the rear legs 62, 63, using a spacing weld 78, and by welding the lower ends 76 and 77 of the front legs 74 and 75 by a spacing wel-d 79 to the bottom rails 60 and 61. In place of welding, other fastening expedients, such as bolting or riveting, may be used; and the frame 51 may be made, similarly,

in more than four components or fewer.

The resultant frame 51 is stackable as such; in fact, in the fully completed chair 50, the frames 51 are the elements that stack, the seats 52 and backs 53 being so made as to avoid interference with this stacking or touching during the stacking. Stacking of the frame 51 alone is often convenient in the factory.

The seat 52 may be constructed from a wide variety of materials, including vinyl-clad sheet metal, sheet metal, wood, reinforced plastic, resin-impregnated glass fibers, and others; so long as the required strength and dura bility are achieved. The thickness t of the seat 52 is preferably less than the thickness T of the frame 51, at least thinner than the glides S5, 86, 87, 88, as clearly illustrated in FIG. 3. This feature of my invention enables the chairs to be stacked upon one another with a maximum of compactness, for only the frames 51 of the several stacked chairs are in cont-act with the glides, the seats 52 not touching each other.

To provide comfort for the user, the rear quarter or the seat 52 is sloped downwardly from each side rail 70, 7 1 to the front-to-rear rnidline of the seat, giving an inverted arcuate effect, and the front quarter has a graceful, downwardly curving leading edge to comfortably support the legs and knees of the occupant. The entire seat 52 is further sloped downwardly in a front-to-back direction (FIG. 3). This contouring also enables the rapid and automatic draining away of rain water or other liquid that may fall upon the seat, so that it will not collect or stand, preventing occupancy and possibly damaging the finish of the seat.

Each side of the seat 52 is firmly attached to the adjacent side rail 71], 71 by two or more brackets '80 (FIG. 2). These brackets 80 may be of the type illustrated in cross section in FIGS. 30 and 31, which comprises a somewhat channel-like support member of curved cross section weldedor in some other manner firmly securedto the adjacent side rail 70 or 71 and crimped (LFIG. 30) to a rolled edge 81 of the seat 52 after insertion of that edge as in FIGS. 30 and 31. When the bracket 80 is secured to the rail 70 or 71 by a weld $2, the bracket 80 may have a dip 83 to provide a space for the weld 8 2, and to cover it. This dip 82 does not interfere with stacking, because it rests in the space between the rails 70 or 71 and the rolled edges &1, as shown in FIGS. 30 and 32. The illustrated brackets 80 provide a very strong and durable method of attaching the seat 52 to the frame 51, but many other types of juncture, readily apparent to one skilled in this art, are operable and may be substituted for the illustrated preferred variety. The one limiting factor to be observed in the use of other brackets is that the effective total thickness t of the seat and bracket be less than the thickness T of the frame member to which they are attached or at least less than the thickness of the glides 85, 87, 88 so that in a stack only the frame members or glides of the chairs will touch each other.

The chair back 53 is preferably constructed from the same material as the seat 52, but other types of strong and otherwise suitable material may be used. Using the same material for both the seat and the back gives uniformity in appearance as well as in strength, and simplifies construction procedures. As with the seat 52, the thickness t of the back 53 is less than the thickness T of the frame or at least less than the thickness of the glides 85, 86, 87, 88. This enables the frame members to nest snugly upon the corresponding frame members of other chairs when a stack is formed, with the backs themselves not touching each other.

The chair back 53 has been a special object of the aforementioned investigation into seating comfort, with the result that a maximum of comfort for either slouched loungers or upright sitters is obtained. As best illustrated in FIG. 3, top and bottom margins of the back 53 curve backwardly in a generally arcuate manner when viewed from the side; and when viewed from the top (FIG. 5), the sides curve forwardly from the center of the back. These curves result in an arch-like structure. The forward tilt of the rear legs 62, 63, gives a buttressing effect counteracting the backward pressure of the sitter on the back 53.

The back 53 is secured to the chair frame 51, and more particularly to the back supports 64, 65 by brackets 84 similar to the brackets 80, except that they are curved.

Considered alone without regard to its stacking features, the chair 50 has many highly advantageous qualities. For instance, it is easily handled with a minimum of effort. It is made of a relatively small number of parts, enabling production for a lesser cost than other more elaborate chairs. Then, these parts are joined together in a relatively simple manner, also aiding in paring the expense of construction. Although the chair frame is made from very slender rod material, it is extremely strong, due to the particular configuration of the frame. So, too, are the seat and back members extremely strong, yet they consist of relatively thin, inexpensive material. The chair achieves a peak of comfort unusual in thin chairs. The chair is extremely durable and can withstand much severe abuse such as is encountered in usage as auxiliary public seating, where it is quite often set up and then stored away. From these attributes it is readily apparent that my chair has lessened or entirely eliminated some of the problems in the art, and provides a means of inexpensive, durable and comfortable seating for a great number of occasions.

Rows of chairs (FIGS. 1026) In order to join several chairs together in a row, as illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15, novel means have been provided which are simple yet strong and durable in structureand which are extremely quick and easy to operate. In a preferred form of the invention, the joining means include the brackets 66 and 67 to join the rear legs 63 and 62 of two different chairs 50:: and 50y, while the front portion of the bottom rail 60 of one chair 50y is joined to the front portion of the bottom rail 61 of the other chair 50x by a pair of snap-fastener glide members 85 and 86. (A non-joining glide 87, 88 may also be provided on the rear portion of each rail 60, 61.)

The joining glides 85 and 86, see FIGS. 1013, are characterized by being self-freeing of dust, trash, etc., by virtue of the vertical channel 910 in the female glide 85. At the rear of the channel 90 is a vertical forwardly inclined wall 91 and a shorter vertical rearw-arclly inclined wall 92. The male glide 86 has a button 93 with a pair of inclined walls 94 and 95 at the rear, corresponding to and interlockable with the walls 91 and 92. The forward wall of the channel 90 has a pair of vertically inclined walls 96 and 97 meeting at a vertex 98. The forward wall of the button 93 has a pair of vertically inclined walls 100 and 101 and a top bevel 102 enabling movement of the button 93 into the channel 90 when looking the glides 85 and 86 together (see FIGS. 2l24). Thus the glides 85 and 86 can be snapped together.

The stiffening members 66 and 67 provide two points to link the rear legs 62 and 63 together. Thus, there is, at each side of the chair, a three-point linkagetwo at the rear on the legs 62, 63, and one at front on the rails 60, 61. The stiffening member 66 has two projections 103 and 104, and the stiffening member 67 has two through openings 105 and 106 to receive the projections 103 and 104, as shown best in FIGS. 16 to 20.

FIGS. 21-24 show how the chairs 50x and 50y are joined together. First, the two rear junctures are made by inserting the projections 103 and 104 into the openings 105 and 106 and then pivoting the chairs toward each other, the glides 85, 86 engaging each other and snapping together. The result is that chairs are securely fastened together by a three-point suspension.

Other chairs may be added in the same manner. For example, chair 50z may be added to the chair 50y, while chair 50w is added to the chair 50x, and chair 50v may be joined to the chair 50w, the chair 5014 to the chair 50v, as shown in FIG. 15. Rows of ten or twenty chairs are quite practical to handle. The chairs are disconnected by reversing the process, unsnapping the members 85, 86 and swinging the projections 103, 104 out of the openings 105, 106.

Stacking individual chairs (FIGS. 69, 27 and 46) As illustrated in FIGS. 6-9, stacking individual chairs is an easy process. But the potential upper chair 50B (FIG. 6) is placed above, but slightly forward of, the potential lower chair 50A, with the side rails 70 and 71 and the bottom rails 60 and 61 of the upper chair 50B directly over the same rails, respectively, of the lower chair 50A. Therefore, as the chairs are stacked one on top of another, the rear legs 64, 65 and the bottom rails 60, 61 of the upper chair 50B straddle the side rails 70, 71 and the front legs 74, 75 respectively, of the lower chair 50A. The upper chair 50B is then lowered down and back to contact the lower chair 50A. When the upper chair 50B comes to rest on the lower chair 50A in the most compact position (FIGS. 9 and 8), the glides 85, 86, 87, 88 of the upper chair 50B are resting snugly on the same members, respectively, of the lower chair 50A. A third chair 50c may similarly be added, and so on. No unused space is left between the stacked chair frames 51, with a result that the chairs occupy the very minimum of storage space. This fact shows up especially well in FIGS. 27 and 46. In quantities above ten, my chair design enables more chairs to be placed in a given volume of storage space than has ever before been achieved with either folding or stacking chairs. For instance, forty of my chairs can be put in a stack about four feet high (FIG. 27).

Stacking rows of chairs (FIG.

In addition to the chairs of the instant invention lending themselves extremely well to being stacked or joined together in rows, these rows can then be stacked upon one another in a very compact fashion as illustrated in FIG. 15.

The procedure is practically identical with that followed in stacking individual chairs, described in the foregoing section entitled Stacking individual chairs. Whereas one person may easily erect a stack of individual chairs, when stacking rows of my chairs, especially long rows, one operator at each end of the row is preferred. Then, simply by lifting a row as a unit, positioning it so that each chair of the row 110 is centered laterally but slightly forward of its mate in a lower row 111, and lowering the upper row 110 down and back to the most snug rest position on the lower row 111, a compact stack of rows of my chairs is quickly and easily formed. As in the stacks of individual chairs, only the frame members of the chairs in the row stacks are in contact; the backs and the seats being closely adjacent but not abutting. FIG. 27 illustrates the fact that when forty rows of chairs 50 are stacked (or forty chairs) the total height is only 50% greater than that of an individual chair 50.

As a stack of individual chairs may be moved about, either by dolly or other means, so too may a stack of rows of chairs be moved. The only limiting factor would be weight, and as my chairs are relatively light, a great many rows thereof may be stacked and moved as a unit. Such an operation has many obvious advantages over the old system of moving one row at a time and then not being able to stack these rows in a compact manner.

Modified forms of seats for the invention (FIGS 32 and 36) Various modifications may be made in the elements of the invention without disturbing the general principles involved.

For example, in FIG. 32, several modifications of the seat and seat attachment are shown. These apply equally to the back and the back attachment. In this instance the side rail 70 remains unchanged and, by way of example, a plywood, fiberglass, or other similar thicker seat material is used in seats 180, 181 and 182. The seat is shown fastened by a screw 183 to a bracket 184, which in turn is welded to the rail 70. A screw-post-like nut 185 may hold the screw 183 in place, lying flush with the top of the seat 180. The same bracket 184 may be used in connection with a rivet 186 that is shown fastened in a well-known manner to the seat 181. A slightly different form of bracket 187 may also be used, as shown on the seat 182. The bracket 187 has a portion 188 that rests in a groove 189 at the edge of the top surface of the seat 182, while the bracket 187 also has a lower portion 190 with an upwardly extending terminal portion 191 that may be crimped into a wooden seat 182. While illustrating modifications of the attachment structure, the main point is also brought out, which is that in all these instances the chair seats 180, 181 and 182 not only do not touch each other but the supporting bracket members that lie above them do not touch the seats either; so they cannot scar or otherwise damage the surface of the seat. In all instances the frame members 70 are resting on top of each other and their thickness T is greater than the effective thickness t of the seat-bracket combination.

Similarly, a seat 192 is also'shown in FIG. 32, at the bottom of the stack. The seat 192 is cemented to a flat portion 193 of a strip 194 that is welded to the rail 70. Here no screws or crimping are required, and again the same relationships apply.

In FIG 36 is shown a modified form of attachment of the seat to the side rail, in which a direct attachment is made. The thickness of the edge of the seat here plus that of the rail 70 is less than that of the glides 85, 86 87, 88.

Modified form of chair and securing means (FIGS. 32-45) A modified form of the invention is shown in FIGS. 33 through 45. The chair 120, shown in these views, has a unitary seat back member 121, which is made of a single piece to provide both the seat 122 and the back 123. It has a drainage opening 124 at the back line to enable drainage and it may be made from fiberglass and plastic in a Well-known manner.

The seat 122 has two side frame members 125 and 126 providing bottom rails 127 and 128 and rear legs 130 and 131. There are also two seat frame members 133 and 134 providing front legs 135 and 136, seat rails 137 and 138, and upwardly extending rear members 140 and 141, which are welded or otherwise secured to the rear legs 130 and 131. The front reinforcement member 139 is provided. Each side frame member is joined as by welding to a dissociated seat frame member and the reinforcing front member is welded to the front legs and the entire assembly is secured to the seat by any suitable manner desired.

The chair 120 is equipped with strengthening channels 142 and 143 to stiffen the rear legs 130, 131 and prevent side-sway. These channels also provide a novel means of fastening one chair 120x to another chair 120y (FIGS. 37-45) in a rigid manner similarly to chairs 50x and 50y (FIGS. 2126).

The rear legs 1'30, 131 are strengthened above and below the level of the seat platform surface by suitable fastening members 142 and 143. Each member 142 and 143 comprises a strengthening channel but they are formed somewhat differently to provide the desired linkage. Thus, the member 143 is provided with a block at the top which has a dip in its upper surface providing a receptacle 145 while an integral portion 144 of the channel 142 is extended and cut therefrom and bent into a snap fastening member to fit into the slot 145. At the lower end of the channel 142 there is also an extension 146, and the lower end of the channel 143 has a similar extension 147 which is made to hook into place in the other member 140. As shown in FIGS. 37 through 39, the hook 147 is engaged in the receptacle member 146 first and then the others at the top are snapped together. This joins the rear of the device. As shown in FIGS. 40 through 45, a somewhat modified form of front glide member is also feasible. In this instance the glide member 150 shown in FIG. 44 has a button 152 on the front and a recess 153 on the rear side joined by a V-groove 154 which extends back toward the front while the member 151, shown in FIG. 45, is made oppositely with a button 155 and a recess 156 to provide a linkage between the two members.

The procedure for fastening thus begins with sliding the right hand side of the chair 120x forward and immediately adjacent the left hand side of the chair 120y so that the button 155 of the glide 151 engages in the slot 154 and the recess 153 of the glide 150, while the button 152 fills the recess 156. This operation completed, the lower portion of the fastener channel 143 is inserted in the lower portion of the fastener channel 142 so that the hook 147 engages in the receptacle 146. Then the u per portion of channel 143 is pushed into the channel 142, so that the channel portion 144 is engaged in the receptacle 145 in a snapping manner. Thus the two chairs 120x and 120y are securely fastened together at three points, one at the front and two at the rear. Unfastening involves merely reversing the process.

Another modified form of chair (FIGS. 475I) A chair 200 can be made with somewhat different frame components. Two frame components 201 and 202 are quite similar, though not identical. They are each made principally by bending a single long thin metal rod to pro vide a respective upper back-supporting portion 203, 204, a rear leg portion 205, 206, a bottom rail 207, 208, an insetting connecting portion 209, 210, a front leg 211, 212, and an upper side rail 213, 214. A stiffening and connection member 215, 216 is welded to each rear leg 205, 206 and extends above and below the upper side rail 213, 214. Forward glides 217, 218 are also connection members and are mounted on the bottom rails 207, 208, as are rear glides 219, 220.

The frame components 201 and 202 are joined together by a forward bracing rail 221 and a rear rail 222. The rail 222 is swailed in the center at 223 to follow the swail 224 of a seat 225 and to help to support it. The forward bracing rail 221 is preferably welded across the front legs 211 and 212 slightly below their halfway height. The rear rail 222 is welded to the rear legs 205 and 206, and the side rails 213 and 214 (which are inset from the rear legs 205, 206) are welded to the rear rail 222.

The seat 225 is secured by rolling, by screws, or by any other suitable means to the rear rail 222 and the side rails 213 and 214. The seat 225 and a back 226, which is secured to the portions 203 and 204, may be made from sheet metal, fiberglass, plywood, or other suitable material.

One interesting feature is that the forward rail 221 is preferably made from rod stock having a different thickness from that of the components 201 and 202. Furthermore, it is preferably to make the rail 221 somewhat thinner than the components 201 and 202. The difference in thickness need not be great, but is significant so that it will have a different period or frequency of vibration. It was found that when the rail 221 was exactly the same thickness as the stock of the components 201 and 202 a peculiar thing happened under some circumstances. Usually, it was satisfactory, but when a chair was dropped on a front corner 209 or 210, it bounced back from a hard floor, and the junction of the rail 221 to one or both of the legs 211 and 212 snapped apart in the air. The difficulty was apparent due to the parts having the same natural frequency of vibration. At any rate, the problem was solved when the member 221 was made from thinner rod stock than the legs 211 and 212. For example, when the legs are A in diameter, the rail 221 may be V8" in diameter. The fact that the total strength of the chair is increased by decreasing the thickness of one of the reinforcing members is rather astonishing, but so it has worked out in practice.

The glides 217 and 218 may be identical to the glides and 86.

The stiffening members 215 and 216 may comprise flat strips welded to the legs 205 and 206 and for the purpose of connecting chairs together side by side, the member 215 is provided with two openings 230 and 231, well spaced apart, while the member 216 is provided with two studs 232 and 233, that fit into and extend through the openings 230 and 231 of an adjacent chair. The lower stud 232 may be, and preferably is cylindrical, but if both studs 232 and 233 are cylindrical, it has been found that a heavy and Wiggly man can, without really trying, detach this chair from the adjoining chair. This problem is solved by making the upper stud 233 in the shape illustrated having a slender reduced neck 234 and an outer button-like portion 235. As shown in FIG. 51, the result is that weight and push that would tend to dismount the cylindrical stud 232 from its opening 230 will instead tighten the edge 236 of the opening 231 down on the neck 234. The chairs will thus not come apart accidentally, though they are easily released on purpose. Junction and disconnection is achieved in exactly the same manner as that already explained with the chair of FIGS. l-27.

To those skilled in the art to which this invention relates, many changes in construction and widely differing embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The disclosures and the description herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.

What is claimed is:

1. In a stackable lightweight relatively rigid row of side-by-side separably connected, individually and as-arow stackable chairs, each chair of said row of chairs having frame means providing substantially parallel front legs and substantially parallel side rails connected thereto, a pair of substantially parallel L-shaped portions each comprising a bottom rail and a rear leg, first interposed means connecting the front end of each said bottom rail to and spacing it from the bottom of the adjacent front leg, second interposed means connecting the rear legs to and spacing them from the side rails, and seat and back members secured to and carried by the frame means of each said chair, the combination therewith of: a threepoint connection between the adjacent chairs of each said row, comprising two connection members on each said rear leg in vertical spaced relation respecting the spacing connection of said rear leg with said side rail, a third connection member secured to a forward portion of each said bottom rail, and each of said connection members positively interlocking with corresponding members on another said chair by relative horizontal movements and each acting when so interlocked to prevent relative vertical movement therebetween, whereby said chairs may be lifted and stacked in rows.

2. The combination of claim 1, wherein said two connection members provide interlocking pivots for swinging relative movement horizontally of said adjacent chairs about a vertical hinge line, and wherein said third connection member provides a snap-lock closing the threepoint connection.

3. The combination of claim 1, wherein said third connection member provides interlocking pivots enabling swinging relative movement horizontally of said adjacent chairs about a vertical hinge, and wherein said two connection members provide snap-locks closing the threepoint connection resisting relative vertical movement when so interlocked.

4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said front legs, rear legs, bottom rails, and side rails are made from rod stock of the same thickness and wherein there is a reinforcing member extending across said front legs and joining them together in between their upper and lower extremities and wherein said reinforcing member is of rod stock of different thickness, thereby having a different natural frequency of vibration.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said reinforcing rod is of smaller diameter than said front legs.

6. The combination of claim 1 wherein on each side of said chair said side rail, front leg, bottom rail, and rear leg are made from a single rod bent to shape and providing as part thereof said first-mentioned interposed means.

7. The combination of claim 1 wherein said bottom rails have thereon glides extending slightly below said bottom rails, so that the chair will compactly stack upon another of the same in such a manner that the glides of the upper chair rest upon the bottom rails of the lower chair, the side rails, front legs, bottom rails, seats, and backs of the upper and lower chair thereby being spaced apart.

8. In a stackable lightweight relatively rigid row of side-by-side separably connected, individually and as-a-row stackable chairs, each chair of said row of chairs having frame means providing substantially parallel front legs and substantially parallel side rails connected thereto, substantially parallel bottom rails and substantially parallel rear legs connected thereto, interposed means connecting the front end of each said bottom rail to and spacing it from the bottom of the adjacent front leg, second interposed means connecting the rear legs to and spacing them from the side rails, and seat and back members secured to and carried by the frame means of each said chair, the combination therewith of: a three-point connection between the adjacent chairs of each said row, comprising on each chair a rigid member connected to each said rear leg, one said rigid member of each chair having two sockets in vertical spaced relation respecting the spacing connection of said rear leg with said side rail, the other said rigid member having two matingly disposed projections adapted to engage the sockets of the adjacent chair in a hinge-like connection enabling horizontal swinging, and a snap-connection member secured to a forward portion of each said bottom rail enabling snap connection to the matingly disposed snap-connection member on the adjacent chair, said three-point connection thereby being joined and taken apart by horizontal movement of the chairs and rigid as to relative vertical movement between chairs, so that said chairs can be lifted and stacked in rows.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein the rigid member having said two sockets is offset in one direction on its said leg and the rigid member having said two projections is offset on its said leg in the other direction, so that when adjacent chairs are joined, said legs are in line with each other.

-10. The combination of claim 9 wherein said sockets are horizontal through-openings and said projections extend horizontally.

11. The combination of claim 10 wherein one of said projections is shaped to provide a reduced neck for engagement in a said through-opening and an outer buttonlike portion beyond said opening whereby the exertion of weight upon either of two connecting chairs tends to lock the projection more tightly in its through opening when chairs are connected.

12. The combination of claim 8, wherein said snap connection members comprise chair glides having an upper end lying substantially flush with the top of said bottom rails, a lower end extending below the bottom of said bottom rails, and a sidewise-extending body projecting out from said bottom rails and having the snap-connection portions thereon, there also being another glide toward the rear end of each said bottom rail and likewise extending below the bottom thereof.

13. The combination of claim 8 wherein one said snap connection member is a female member having end blocks and a vertical channel between said blocks, said channel having an inner vertical, forwardly inclined wall meeting an outer vertical, rearwardly inclined wall and having a pair of vertically inclined walls meeting at a vertex, the other snap-connection member having a button with rear walls corresponding to and interlockable with the rear walls of said channel and with a pair of vertically inclined forward walls meeting at a vertex and a top bevel, enabling snap movement into said forward channel wall.

14. In a lightweight, durable and compactly stackable chair, having a frame with a pair of substantially parallel front legs, a pair of substantially parallel side rails, a pair of substantially parallel bottom rails, and a pair of substantially parallel rear legs, the front end of each bottom rail being joined and spaced from the bottom of the abutting front leg, the rear legs being firmly joined to and spaced from the side rails, said chair also having a seat and a back both thinner than said frame and firmly fastened to the frame; the combination therewith of a pair of glide members on each said bottom rail, one on a forward portion thereof and the other on a rear portion thereof, said members ending flush with the upper surface of said rails and slightly below the lower surface thereof and out to the outside thereof, said glide member that is attached to said forward portion comprising a fastening member for easily, quickly, and separably linking two said chairs together; another separable chair-fastening device on each of the rear legs extending longitudinally thereof above and below said side rails to brace said legs and to provide strengthening connections above and below said side rails, the distance between the side rails being substantially less than the distance between the bottom rails so that the chair will compactly stack upon another identical chair and a row of chairs will as compactly stack upon another identical row, in such a manner that the glide members of the upper chair rest on the bottom rails of the lower chair and space the seats and backs of the respective chairs from each other.

15. The chair of claim 14 wherein the fastening means attached to the bottom rails are snap fasteners.

16. In a stackable lightweight relatively rigid row of side-by-side separably connected, individually and as-arow stackable chairs, each chair of said row of chairs having frame means providing substantially parallel front legs and substantially parallel side rails connected thereto, substantially parallel bottom rails and substantially parallel rear legs connected thereto, interposed means connecting the front end of each of said bottom rail to and spacing it from the bottom of the adjacent front leg, second interposed means connecting the rear legs to and spacing them from the side rails, and seat and back members secured to and carried by the frame means of each said chair, the combination therewith of: a three-point connection between the adjacent chairs of each said row, comprising on each chair a rigid member connected to each said rear leg, one said rigid member of each chair having two sockets in vertical spaced relation respecting the spacing connection of said rear leg with said side rail, the other said r-igid member having two matingly disposed studs adapted to engage the sockets of the adjacent chair in a hinge-like connection enabling horizontal swinging, one said stud being cylindrical, the other stud having a thin neck-like shank fitting in and spaced from a said socket when two chairs are joined together and having an enlarged outer end substantially the same diameter as said socket, and a snap-connection member secured to a forward portion of each said bottom rail enabling snap connection to the matingly disposed snap-connection member 011 the adjacent chair, said three-point connection thereby being joined and taken apart by horizontal movement of the chairs and rigid as to relative vertical movement between chairs, so that said chairs can be lifted and stacked in rows.

.17. In a stackable lightweight relatively rigid row of side-by-side separably connected, individually and as-arow stackable chairs, each chair of said row of chairs having frame means providing (1) a pair of substantially parallel members each bent to provide a side rail, a front leg, a bottom rail, and a rear leg, said bottom rail being joined by an offsetting portion to said front leg, (2) a front reinforcing member extending between said front legs, and (3) a rear reinforcing member connecting the rear legs to each other and spacing them from the side rails, and seat and back members secured to and carried by the frame means of each said chair, a three-point connection between the adjacent chairs of said said row, comprising two connection members on each said rear leg in vertical spaced relation respecting the spacing connection of said rear leg with said side rail, a third connection member secured to a forward portion of each said bottom rail, and each of said connection members positively interlocking with corresponding members on another said chair by relative horizontal movements and each acting when so interlocked to prevent relative vertical movement therebetween, whereby said chairs may be lifted and stacked in rows.

18. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said threepoint connection between the adjacent chairs of each said row comprises on each chair a rigid member connected to each said rear leg, each said rigid member having two snap-connection members, one above and one below the spacing connection of said rear leg with said side rail, one of said members mating with another on the adjacent chair, and a rigid connecting member secured to a forward portion of each said bottom rail, one mating with the other on horizontal movement to provide a hingelike motion, said three-point suspension being joined and taken apart by horizontal movement of the chairs to engage said bottom rail members and then hinge-like horizontal movement to engage or disengage said snap-connection members, said chairs when joined resisting relative vertical movement therebetween when being liftable and stackable in rows.

19. The combination of claim 18 wherein said rearleg rigid members each comprise channel members, one having an upper and a lower rear-wall projection forming a spring-like snap member, the other having a block at one end secured in the channel to provide a rigid anchor for one said spring-like snap member and a bent in projecting portion at the other end to engage the other said spring-like snap member.

20. The combination of claim 18, wherein said lowerrail rigid members comprise interlocking blocks having mating angular walls with vertically inclined walls meeting at a vertex.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 321,825 7/ 1885 Koenig 297248 1,989,426 1/ 1935 Poll-ak 297239 2,893,469 7/1956 Eames et al. 297239 2,888,775 6/1959 Thoeming 248--188.1 2,956,618 10/1960 Eames et al. 297248 2,964,092 12/ 1960 Rassier 297239 3,018,131 1/1962 Krueger 297248 3,080,194 3/ 1963 Rowland 297239 3,183,034 5/1965 Midyette 297239 FOREIGN PATENTS 503,149 5/1951 Belgium.

513,190 8/1952. Belgium.

588,880 6/ 1947 Great Britain.

380,469 5/ 1940 Italy.

FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.

F. K. ZUGEL, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/239, 297/248
International ClassificationA47C5/04, A47C, A47C1/12, A47C1/124, A47C4/02, A47C3/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47C4/03, A47C1/124, A47C5/04, A47C4/02, A47C3/04
European ClassificationA47C5/04, A47C4/02, A47C4/03, A47C1/124, A47C3/04